Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Expansion of the United Front Under Xi Jinping by Gerry Groot


Xi Jinping’s rule to date has  been characterised by, among other things, a return to the basics of Party rule as established by Mao. These include a renewed emphasis on United Front 统战 work, which Mao called one of the ‘three secret weapons’ 三个大法宝 (along with the armed forces and Party-building) that helped the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to power in 1949. (For an overview of the United Front, see the China Story Yearbook 2014: Shared Destiny, pp.128–132.) The year 2015 was the most important one since 1990 for the United Front, a collection of strategies overseen by the United Front Work Department (UFWD) 统战部 by which the Party seeks to strengthen its authority and legitimacy, especially among the more marginalised, independent, and minority sectors of the Chinese population.
Today, these include professionals such as lawyers, business managers, and ‘new capitalists’—whose co-operation is crucial for the success of China’s new economic policies—as well as historic United Front targets like religious believers and ethnic minorities including Tibetans and Uyghurs. The children of China’s nouveau riche are another relatively new focus along with Chinese studying overseas. Xi had previously stressed the importance of United Front work among Overseas Chinese, huaqiao 华侨, a category that now includes Chinese citizens living abroad (so-called ‘new huaqiao’).